How to build a membership website with WordPress
To build a membership site on WordPress, you can install a few plugins on your site that will allow you to either sell memberships to access premium content or to run a website for a private club or organization.
Once you have WordPress installed, go to Plugins and then click on Add Plugin. Search for Paid Memberships Pro. This is a free plugin. It only costs money if you want support from them directly. Otherwise all plugins, including the core, can be installed and used free of charge.
Note: This plugin requires PHP 7.4. Newer PHP versions are not compatible yet and will cause your WordPress site to show a blank page. By default, NodeSpace servers default to PHP 8.0. See how to change your PHP version.
Once the plugin is installed, you can get started. Start with the tasks under the initial setup in order. The first is to define your membership levels. This will allow you to define different levels and prices.
Next, you will need to create some special pages. The plugin can set these up for you by clicking the generate for me button. You can optionally create the pages yourself.
The pages generated will allow your members to manage their accounts, view invoices, pay invoices, login, register, etc. A new menu should be added to your site with these pages. You can always add or remove items from this menu in the WordPress menu manager.
Next, you will need to set up at least one payment gateway if you are charging fees for your memberships. Paid Memberships Pro has several payment gateways included that you can setup.
You can also setup any required taxes that you need to charge.
Note: NodeSpace cannot assist you with any sales tax. You need to consult your qualified accountant or attorney to charge the applicable taxes and rates.
By default, NodeSpace offers free SSL certificates that are automatically installed and generated. These certificates offer baseline security. Make sure you force SSL on your site, especially on payment pages. You can force HTTPS through cPanel by following this article.
Installing Paid Membership Pro Addons
If you want to install additional addons, you can go to the addons tab within Paid Memberships Pro. Some addons will have an install link. Others will have a download link that directs you to Paid Membership Pro's website and says that if you want these plugins, you need to pay for a license. However, these plugins are free. Find the name of the plugin you want to install and go to https://github.com/strangerstudios and then in the search box at the top, start typing in the name of the addon you want to install. When you enter your search term, click on "in this organization".
It should then show you the addon. Click on the result.
On the next page, click on the Code button and then click on Download Zip.
Now go to the WordPress Plugin section and add a plugin. Upload the zip file you downloaded and then install and activate it.
You will now have the addon installed and ready to go.